Five more Hidden Gems

Times are hard, inflation is up and your pounds are not buying as much abroad as they were a few years ago.  But it does not mean you have to ditch your holidays.  We think it's time to look closer to home.  We have beautiful towns and villages, teeming with history and natural beauty, just waiting to be discovered.

So, to help you out, we've looked for the UK's hidden gems. They're stunning and they offer you plenty to do.  No flights to worry about, no lost baggage, no language barrier, just motorway traffic to weave through.  But that's another matter, all together.


Blanchland, Northumberland - flckr - Draco2008Blanchland
Referred to as the 'perfect English village', stepping into Blanchland is like stepping back into the past.  It's a place where you can imagine ladies walking around in crinoline dresses and they will not look out of place.  This conservation village is picture perfect and quintessentially British.  It's like a balm to weary souls.  It's dotted with picturesque stone houses, set against the backdrop of the Penine moors and deep woods.  Here, you can simply slow down, relax, have a walk through the woods and up to the moors. You can then round off your day with afternoon tea at The White Monk Tea Rooms, where they serve proper English afternoon tea with tasty cakes and homemade jam.


13 The Birks of Aberfeldy - flckr - Andy HawkinsAberfeldy
Aberfeldy is situated deep in the heart of the Perthshire highlands, perched on the upper south side of the River Tay in the Tay Valley.  This delightful, lush little village is set away from major routes and is less touristy than the other highland villages. However, it offers the most stunning views around the area.  From here, you can see the breathtaking peaks of Creag Odhar, Sron Mhor, Farragon, Schiehallion and Ben Lawers. The Birks of Aberfeldy offers a scenic walking trail where you can discover a wide array of wildlife.  The Birk has been given the status of a 'site of special scientific interest'.


Lavenham Timber Framed Houses - flckr - artorusrexLavenham
Considered to be England's finest medieval village, Lavenham is affectionately called 'Wonky Town' by visitors who are impressed by its angular buildings.  The town looks just like a picture out of a postcard.  It oozes timeless beauty and character.  It's dotted with an assortment of timber-framed Tudor buildings that were built between 1450 and 1530 by merchants who wanted to show off their wealth.  At present, there are 361 beautiful, listed, buildings in the area.


View over Betws y Coed - flckr - erwlasBetws-y-Coed
Betws-y-Coed is the main village of the Snowdonia National Park.  From here, you can explore the 800 square miles of pure natural beauty.  It is set against the backdrop of hidden valleys, cascading rivers, deep forest, glacial lakes, stunning moorland and rocky mountains.  Here, you'll find the world's ancient rocks, and hear the echoes of old myths and legends. 

You may not be able to go sun bathing here, but on a sunny summer's day, you can go up the top of the mountains and enjoy the sheer beauty of lush forest, green grassland and purple moorland.  At the end of the day, you can drive down, towards the setting sun, bask in its beautiful colour and just be amazed at how beautiful the world is.


Knaresborough Viaduct - flckr - BBM ExplorerKnaresborough
Overshadowed by Harrogate, Knaresborough is a town teeming with history.  The castle grounds, perched at the top of the crag, are the locals' favourite spot.  It offers a scenic view of the River Nidd, Knaresborough Woods and Knaresborough Viaduct.  On a sunny day, locals and visitors can sit here and just watch the world go by. 

Just a few yards down from the town centre are the secluded Bebra gardens.  They offer a quiet place for those who want to contemplate life.  Abbey Road and Waterside offer a quiet and relaxing route for walking.  Here, you can walk and listen to the running water while pondering about the world.  Along Abbey Road are two important religious spots, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Crag and the cave where St. Robert used to live.  While along Waterside, there are tearooms that serve homemade cakes and hot food. 

Every June, Knaresborough holds a bed race.  The locals show off their artistic flair by decorating their beds and parading them along the high street.  They then strip them down and race through Waterside, up the steep hill of Castle Ings, through the high street and crossing the River Nidd to the finish.




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